A survey by the Bank of Montreal shows post-secondary students are relying less on family money and their own savings and more on bank loans to get through school.
The survey also found that finances continue to be the number one stress factor for students, weighing on them more than the pressure to get high marks or even finding a good job after graduation.
Eight per cent fewer students are relying on family to finance their education and are turning to bank loans according to the survey, said Michelle Mobarrez, a personal banking manager with BMO Financial Group.
"In Alberta you're looking at about 6.4 years on average ... and it's about $30,000 that students are walking out with in debt," she said.
"So that's not including summer employment, or maybe down payment toward their tuition that they already have. They're walking out with that kind of debt after school."
Mobarrez said families should plan ahead with RESPs and other savings.
And students should make sure they're getting good deals on student cards and bank rates.
There are long-term consequences of racking up all that debt, said Missy Chareka of the Students’ Association Mount Royal University.
"Students who now want to go on to grad school, they now may have to take on debt on top of their undergraduate debt. They might even be putting off personal things like getting married or buying a house," she said.